A recent Mckinsey report on the future of work indicated that the number of people employed in education would probably go up over the next twenty years. The reason for this has to do with the shifting nature of work. We don’t need as many people as we used to doing low-skill factory work or collecting corn from cornfields. Once upon a time, those jobs were mainstream, but with advances in technology that’s no longer the case. Machines do most of the work that people used to do.
What we need instead are highly educated people working on problems that machines are yet to solve.
Machines have been eating the middle class for a long time – replacing relatively skilled human labour with sophisticated algorithms and software. If people want to get ahead in the workplace of tomorrow, they’ll have to capitalise on uniquely social aspects of their intelligence. And that requires people like you to educate them.
For many, going into the traditional education system is not an option. It’s outdated, not particularly rewarding, and grindingly hard work. You can have a far more significant reach doing something yourself over the internet.
Do You Have The Necessary Qualifications?
The first question to ask is whether you have the necessary qualifications to teach. The level of your qualification will determine how much you can charge by the hour (if you decide to bill that way). People are often willing to pay substantially more for a teacher with a masters degree than they are an undergrad degree.
The qualifications you have mirror the subjects that you can teach. People with engineering degrees can teach engineers, while those with maths degrees can teach maths.
Do You Have The Right Skills?
The next question to ask yourself is whether you have the right skills to become an educator. You may understand your subject well, but if you can’t deliver the knowledge in a way that helps people, then you can’t teach.
Teaching is all about stepping in the other person’s head and figuring out where they’re stuck and how you can help them out of a rut. It’s not about demonstrating your knowledge or impressing people. It’s a nurturing and time-consuming process.
In general, educators have to have the following attributes:
- Affability. You’ve got to be likeable. People need to feel like they can come up to you and ask questions. What they don’t want is for you to tell them off when they make a genuine mistake on their work. You might have asked them, for instance, to complete a task in a certain way that they didn’t immediately understand. Instead of saying that you don’t like to be defied, it’s better to ask what went wrong and how you can help. Usually, misunderstandings are minor, and people can move to the next learning milestone.
- Availability. As an educator, you need to be there when your customers want you.
- Ability. Finally, you need to know what you’re talking about. Only people who understand their subject matter inside out are in a position to help others learn critical concepts.
Do You Have Business Acumen?
One of the reasons that educators go into the traditional sector is that many of them want to educate but don’t have the business acumen to do it privately.
It’s worth asking, therefore, whether you have the skills to adopt many of the popular online education business models.
Your online education service could take one of the following forms.
- Elearning. Elearning services have exploded in popularity over the last ten years or so, thanks to their convenience and the quality of their services. You need to be confident with all kinds of concepts, from creating online courses to delivering them through client portals. You also need to understand the unique marketing environment you’ll face and may need to read a browser push notifications guide for eLearning companies.
- MOOCs. MOOCs or massive online open courses, are another potential avenue you can go down. MOOCs collect talented educators from all over the world and gather up their courses onto a single website. They then charge customers to access those courses on a per course basis. It’s excellent value for learners and highly scalable for educators like you.
The opportunities to educate people online abound, but you have to have the right skillset to make it work. You can, if you like, go through an agency, but it’s almost always better to start something scalable yourself. The incomes of some educators are higher than you might think.
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